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Chip pan fires put dampener on National Chip Week

Chip pan fires in Bradford and Leeds have put a dampener on National Chip Week - with the county's fire chiefs concerned their warnings are not getting through.

In the last three years West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service dealt with 345 chip pan fires - one of which resulted in a fatality. Furthermore, 84 people were left with injuries requiring hospital treatment and a further 69 people were injured but did not need to go to hospital.

Fire chiefs have now released a video showing what happens if people try to extinguish a chip pan fire with water.

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Teenagers in Lincolnshire and Hull 'missing out on opportunities'

Half of secondary schools in North East Lincolnshire and nearly 40% in Hull are not offering triple science. Research has found that teenagers may be missing out on the opportunity to go to a top university and gain a good job because of limited exam options in their area.

Often, it is young people from poor areas who are most likely to miss out, according to researchers.

They suggested that schools in deprived communities are denying pupils the chance to take subjects that are considered difficult in order to boost their standing in annual league tables.

The research was conducted by the Open Public Services Network (OPSN) at the RSA think-tank, based on an analysis of 2013 exam results.

In some parts of Britain, opportunities are restricted because all the schools within a neighbourhood have decided not to offer more challenging subjects. We can see that the curriculum taught to children in poorer parts of Britain is significantly different to that taught in wealthier areas. This would be of little concern if these differences reflected the needs and choices of pupils and families. Our worry is that instead they reflect decisions made by schools and are based on calculations as to how schools can appear better on league tables by encouraging children to avoid taking on more challenging subjects. The evidence suggests that in areas where most children are expected to do less well in exams, the educational opportunities for all children are being restricted.

– Roger Taylor, OPSN chair

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TV stars back maths improvement scheme

Two of TV's brainiest stars are in Headingley today as guests of honour at a conference aimed at improving standards of maths in schools. Countdown's Rachel Riley and quiz expert Mark Labbett from The Chase will be put through their paces at the event, which will also be attended by around 500 primary and secondary school teachers. It has been organised by Trinity Academy, which is one of the members of the White Rose Maths Hub, a government-funded scheme which works to improve maths standards in schools in Leeds, Calderdale, Kirklees and Bradford.

'Mini Me Stories' workshops launched to boost children's literacy

A mother from Leeds has launched her own campaign to encourage more children to pick up a book and start reading.

To coincide with National Storytelling week, Natasha Hamlet started a series of workshops to help improve children's literacy. Research shows more and more school children would rather spend time reading text messages than anything else.

Natasha wants parents to turn back time - replacing technology with a paperback.

Matt Price reports on one mum's educational message.

Happy feet penguins removed from "too slippy" enclosure

Slippy feet Credit: PA

A group of penguins has been temporarily removed from The Deep, in Hull, because the fake ice flooring was too slippery.

In scenes reminiscent of the hit film "Happy Feet", the seven Gentoo penguins were unable to stand still on the new flooring and even fell flat on their faces.

The birds were removed from public display after "skidding" on the new icy surface. Now staff at the aquarium exhibit have installed a special anti-slip covering and plan to move the penguins back next week. A spokeswoman for The Deep said: "The penguins were taken out of the display to do some routine maintenance work but, when we put them back, the covering did not have enough grip in it for them to stick on to and we had a bit of a skidding situation"

Andrew McLeod, deputy curator at the aquarium, said the penguins were "excited" about being back in the display after repairs were carried out to the enclosure. He said:

"We watched them hop around and saw them scrabbling a little bit on the slopes. As they turned quickly, they do this thing where they lean forward and one of them ended up face down, he ended up on his front. Some of the other birds were scrabbling and slipping over and we thought, 'it's far too slippy'."

Gentoos are the fastest swimming species of penguin - reaching speeds of 36kmph - and can dive to depths of 170 metres. They can grow up to 80cms in height. This colony went on display at The Deep in March last year after being born and raised at an educational facility in Texas.

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